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MSc Frequently Asked Questions

Before Applying

How will the MSc programme be affected by COVID-19?

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are adjusting the teaching for the MSc in International Politics. Our overall objective is to make sure that the 2020-21 year feels as much as possible like the course would feel during a normal (COVID-19-free) year. All of our modules - with the exception of PO8006 (Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods, a lecture class) - will be taught seminar-style, and we will do everything possible to make sure that all students have the normal level of interaction with staff members.

The first term of teaching (Michaelmas Term) will be run online. We may try to hold in-person seminars for those students in Dublin, with students not in Dublin joining in online, where it is technically and logistically feasible. The second term of teaching (Hilary Term) will be run as normal, with all classes being held in person - again depending on the current health situation.

Departmental updates will be listed here, please contact the course administrator if you have any questions. You can find details of the College-wide arrangements here.

Where can I find the online application system?

To apply online for the MSc in International Politics please go to the Trinity Courses website. We recommend that you look at the Admissions Requirements pages before beginning your online application.

Can I pursue the MSc programme on a part-time basis?

The MSc in International Politics can be taken on a part-time basis by taking the coursework over two years. The dissertation will be submitted at the end of the second year. Fees are 70 per cent of the regular annual fee for each year. Note that courses meet during normal working hours (e.g. morning and afternoon seminars) and that the department will only be able to give final guidance about course meeting times a few weeks before the start of each term, for example early September for Michaelmas term. Note also that there is a substantial commitment to reading and other work outside the class and it may not be realistic to apply for a part-time MSc option while continuing with significant work requirements.

Can I continue working while taking a full-time MSc degree programme?

The full-time MSc in International Politics is demanding and requires a full-time commitment if students are to get the best out of their education experience. It is not compatible with continuing with paid employment, or any similarly demanding non-academic obligations, even part-time. If you wish to continue with paid employment during your postgraduate studies, you may wish to consider the part-time option instead.

For non-EU students, it is possible to stay and work in Ireland following course completion using a Stamp 1G visa; see the Trinity Careers Service and the Department of Justice and Equality site for details.

Can I pursue the MSc in International Politics programme through distance learning?

Students must expect to be resident in Dublin throughout the one-year taught MSc programmes at Trinity College Dublin and attend all taught classes and another other relevant events.

When is the deadline for MSc applications for the September 2020 entry?

The application deadline for MSc applications is 1st August 2020.

Applications are considered on a rolling admissions basis until the deadline of 1st August 2020 and applicants are advised to apply early. Please note that any late offers are dependent on sufficient places remaining available in the programme.

What sort of qualifications do I need to be admitted to the MSc programme?

Candidates should have an undergraduate degree from an established college or university. A background in a social science will be an advantage but not a necessity. Applications are expected from candidates with a single or joint honours degree in Political Science, Economics, European Studies, History, Sociology, Business and Law. Other subject areas will also be considered. Students must also fulfil the College entry requirements and international students must also fulfil the international student requirements.

Candidates should normally have achieved an upper second class honour degree, or higher from an established university. GPA scores of at least 3.3 out of 4, or equivalent, will be expected from international applicants. Students whose qualifications do not meet these standards may still choose to apply and the Department will then consider whether such applications demonstrate sufficient preparation for the postgraduate study of Political Science to merit admission. However, the Department cannot enter into a discussion of individual circumstances or qualifications in advance of a formal application being made.

There is no flexibility on the language requirement. Students who do not fulfil the minimum language requirements will not be considered.

How competitive is admission to the MSc in International Politics programme?

You are encouraged to apply early as competition for places is intense. It would be wise to apply as soon as possible as there is a rolling admission procedure and a limited number of places in the programme.

What are the requirements for the students who do not speak English as their first language?

Regarding English language requirements, the programme follows the standardised requirements set Trinity College. In summary, in order to be considered for this programme, the applicant who has not been educated through the medium of English will need to present a minimum of the listed score on one of the following exams:

  • IELTS: Grade 6.5 overall
  • TOEFL: 88 internet-based, 570 paper-based, 230 computer-based. The test taken here should be TOEFL IBT
  • University of Cambridge:
    • Proficiency Certificate, Grade C or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2)
    • Advanced Certificate, Grade C or better (CEFR Level C1 or C2)
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) - PTE Academic: a minimum score of 63 to be eligible (with no section score below 59)
  • Duolingo English Test: minimum overall score of 110/160, dated since January 2020
  • An award certificate with a minimum II.1 overall score from Trinity's Centre for English Language Learning and Teaching's Pre-sessional Pathway Programme

Note - language test results are valid for three years only.

There is no flexibility on the language requirements. Students who do not fulfil the minimum language requirements will not be considered. In exceptional circumstances, language scores can be submitted after submission of the rest of the application.

Where can I find information on visa requirements?

General information on visa requirements can be found on the Citizens Information website. Details of visa requirements for international students coming to Trinity College Dublin are listed here. For non-EU students, it is possible to stay and work in Ireland following course completion using a Stamp 1G visa; see the Trinity Careers Service and the Department of Justice and Equality site for details.

Where can I find information on financial supports for students?

The Department is not in a position to offer scholarships/fee waivers to incoming students; prospective applicants are recommended to investigate funding/scholarship options before making an application e.g. see information on the Citizen's Information site, Trinity College Postgraduate scholarships, and funding supports offered in home countries (in the case of international students). It may also be possible to claim tax relief on tuition fees, see the Revenue site for details.

What other expenses, above and beyond fees, should I expect as a student living in Dublin?

Please see the Global Relations website for details regarding the cost of living in Dublin. Of course, the cost of living will vary depending on the student's lifestyle and living standards.

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Application Process

Are there any guidelines for the writing sample to be submitted with an application?

The writing sample can be a paper written for a previous course, or a chapter from an undergraduate thesis if you are writing one. The committee would expect it to be somewhere between 12 and 20 pages long. A sample of academic or research-related writing - an essay or term paper, for example - is much preferred, but where the applicant cannot provide a sample of academic writing, we will consider other writing samples.

Are there any guidelines for the motivation letter/personal statement to be submitted with an application?

There is no required length for the letter, a single page would suffice.

I'm having an issue with the online application system, whom should I contact?

The application system is managed by the Academic Registry department so any questions regarding uploading documentation, changing referees, application fees should be directed there:

When supplying references, do they have to be from academic referees?

Academic references are preferable, but where these are not available professional references are acceptable also.

I will not receive my formal certificate of graduation from my undergraduate degree until late September 2020. How can I submit my documentation to obtain a firm offer of a place on the MSc programme?

For the rare case where degree certificates from the relevant academic year will not be available until September, if you are sure that you have passed your degree requirements, please send us whatever documentation you have (including, if possible, grades from spring courses), explain the situation, and we will ask the Graduate Studies Office to make you a firm offer on this basis. (Note that if you do not subsequently provide a degree certificate in the Michaelmas Term, you will be obliged to withdraw from the MSc programme). All other applicants who are graduating from their undergraduate degree in the summer, and can obtain a full degree certificate before the end of August, should submit their certificate in order to obtain a firm offer of a place.

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After Submitting an Application

I have an offer of a place from another programme and I need an early decision from Trinity - what can I do?

Ensure that all your application documentation is in place and contact the Associate Course Director, Dr Jesse Dillon Savage, with details of your other offer.

I have been made an "unconditional offer" – what happens now?

Congratulations! You have three weeks to accept the offer and if you choose to do so, you must then make a non-refundable deposit of €500 to reserve your place in the MSc programme. If you do not make a deposit, you may lose your place. We look forward to seeing you in September!

I have been made a "conditional offer" – what happens now?

Congratulations! You will need to submit your missing documentation - for example your final grade transcript for your undergraduate degree - as soon as you receive it and then Trinity will formally issue you with an unconditional offer, and you will be able to make a deposit to reserve your place.

I have been offered a place on the programme and cannot accept the offer within the specified time - what can I do?

Please contact the Associate Course Director, Dr Jesse Dillon Savage

Why has no decision been reached on my application?

A decision is only made on an application after ALL materials have been received, including letters of recommendation, writing samples etc. When all materials are received, your application will be considered together with other applications which are completed at the same time and a decision given.

Can I have feedback on my application?

We regret that we cannot offer feedback on unsuccessful MSc applications.

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Incoming Students

I have been admitted to the MSc programme and would like to make plans for travel/the summer. When does the programme begin?

There is a University-wide orientation for postgraduate students - further details will be available on the Graduate Studies Website closer to the date. The Department will also host a course orientation in September 2020, at which attendance is required. MSc module classes will begin in late September.

When and where is the orientation for new MSc students for 2020-21?

The orientation meeting for MSc in International Politics 2020-21 students will take place in September 2020 - details will be confirmed and communicated to incoming students closer to that time.

What modules will be taught in the MSc in International Politics programme in the next academic year?

The MSc course programme always includes training in research design and quantitative methods, while the topics covered by other modules varies from year to year. Please visit the course content section for more details.

Are there any opportunities to work as a Teaching Assistant in Trinity's Political Science Department while participating in the MSc programme?

It is possible for MSc students to work as Teaching Assistants in the Political Science Department. Please note your interest in your cover letter. This opportunity may be especially relevant to applicants who have previously been undergraduate students at Trinity.

What kind of career does the course prepare MSc students for?

The MSc in International Politics course prepares students for a range of careers dealing with European and global issues. This includes students who wish to pursue careers in the public and private sectors, in European Union institutions, non-governmental organizations and the media. For non-EU students, it is possible to stay and work in Ireland following course completion using a Stamp 1G visa; see the Trinity Careers Service and the Department of Justice and Equality site for details.

The course is also suitable for students who wish to progress to doctoral research. The graduate testimonials page shows you the experiences of some of our graduates since they completed their masters, and you can also view a complete list of graduates from the masters programmes.

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